Thursday, July 30, 2015

Breakfast Sandwich #31 & #32 - Pinkus McBride vs. MacTaggart's aka Sandwich Smackdown!

Sandwich: Bacon, Cheddar, Egg with Boar's Head Jalapeño Pepper Sauce on English Muffin
Location: MacTaggart's Market
Date: July 26, 2015
Cost: $4.39

Sandwich: Bacon, Pepper Jack, Egg on English Muffin
Location: Pinkus McBride
Date: July 26, 2015
Cost: $3.99

Neither of these places were on my radar for sandwiches until very recently. They are both convenience-type stores aimed at the people who live and work in the area and can walk there. There isn't a lot of parking near either unless you luck out and find a spot on the street. That explains my ignorance towards their sandwich options and also the reason that I decided to pit them against each other in a Sandwich Smackdown.

Pinkus McBride and MacTaggart's Market are fairly close to each other and since it was a beautiful July morning I decided to bike to both so I could double down on a sandwich review. MacTaggart's is just off Langdon Street, tucked in among the fraternities and sororities of the UW. It would probably be a great place for a part time job while you're working on getting your pledge pin. Pinkus is a little more accessible, it's on East Johnson Street near James Madison Park. It is not known if James Madison or his Vice President, the not-very-funky-looking George Clinton, ever shopped there. It's entirely possible that the funky George Clinton has shopped there.

It probably isn't fair to call this comparison a Smackdown since the participants didn't know they were going into the ring. Still, it makes for a better story. Really, it's all about the story here, which is why I'd like to get Donald Trump to do a ride along sandwich review. I'm not sure how he feels about breakfast sandwiches but apparently meatloaf sandwiches are his favorite.

I was going to try to get the exact same sandwich at each location but I didn't know what options would be available and then decided it didn't matter. In the end, the two I ended up getting were very similar.

Lots of options on the MacTaggart's menu. I almost went for the Fiery Chipotle Gourmaise.

The Pinkus menu.

I call this piece Still Life With Sandwiches.

Pinkus on the left, MacTaggart's on the right.

Pinkus, still on the left. MacTaggart's, still on the right.
The Sandwich (#31, MacTaggart's) - Bacon, Cheddar, Egg with Boar's Head Jalapeño Pepper Sauce on English Muffin. The menu to custom build your own sandwich is impressive. I wanted to keep it basic/classic style so I would be able to match it at Pinkus, but I had to get the Jalapeño Sauce. I like a little hot sauce on my breakfast sandwich and it's rarely an option.

The Sandwich (#32, Pinkus McBride) - Bacon, Pepper Jack, Egg on English Muffin. The whiteboard menu at Pinkus isn't as impressive as the MacTaggart's checklist, but they do offer more than your standard options, such as "veggies". They seem like a relaxed operation, they'll probably put anything on there as long as they have it on hand. Go ahead and order a breakfast sandwich with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups on it and see how it goes. I'm guessing you'll get it. 

If this were a blog on ESPN I would break down each of the sandwiches strengths and weaknesses, component by component, to arrive at my final ranking. I'm going to do that in a pathetic attempt to launch a career at ESPN, but, I will only work there if I never have to meet any of the on air talent. Whatever path my ESPN career takes, I will not attend the Holiday Party. I imagine that all of the television and radio hosts congregate in a corner and shout at each other for 3 hours while their spouses get hammered at the open bar. 

English Muffin - They were similar, and both very good, but the MacTaggart's was toasted a little bit more and had a nice light crunch to it. Slight edge to MacTaggart's.

Bacon - I think they were both Boar's Head brand. MacTaggart's definitely was. The deli case at Pinkus was heavy on Boar's Head products so I'm going to assume it was. The bacon on both sandwiches was nicely crisped and distributed adequately, but the MacTaggart's was just a bit crispier and looked leaner. Slight edge to MacTaggart's. 

Cheese - I went with cheddar at MacTaggart's for that extra little bit of cheese bite. At Pinkus I ordered pepper jack to give the sandwich a little heat. Both were melted properly but the Pinkus sandwich had just a bit more more on it. Slight edge to Pinkus.

Egg - Here is the biggest difference. Pinkus egg was fried, MacTaggart's was hard scrambled. I'm not sure that's the right term. It doesn't matter. By now everybody knows I like the chicken egg to be runny, but places that do grab and go sandwiches tend to not make them that way. It's either to save you the mess, or something about eating undercooked eggs. Both eggs were cooked well but neither were my ideal sandwich egg. Push. 

Intangibles - MacTaggart's was empty at 8:30 on Sunday morning and my sandwich was given extra attention - she even put a little sprinkle of black pepper on the egg after placing it on the muffin! The sandwich held up well although it was swung around in a bag while I biked to Pinkus. It was a thing of beauty when I unwrapped it at the park, I wish I had taken a better photo. The Pinkus sandwich was also made fresh although they had a few in the case ready to grab. It was a nice looking sandwich but didn't have the same eyeball appeal that the MacTaggart's did. Edge to MacTaggart's.

The Result (#31, MacTaggart's) - 4.18 pledge pins out of 5 pledge pins. This was a damn fine breakfast sandwich. The jalapeño sauce put it over the top though. It was a perfect complement of heat and flavor. I would have never guessed that you could get something like this out of a basement convenience store. I recommend getting there before the students return. 

The Result (#32, Pinkus McBride) - 3.95 not-funky-Vice-Presidents out of 5 not-funky-Vice-Presidents. This was also a fine sandwich but on this day it didn't measure up to the competition. Pinkus has the advantage of being near James Madison Park, which is an ideal place to eat a sandwich. 

MacTaggart's is the winner of Sandwich Bowl I. This is not a best of 7 series, it's winner take all. There is no trophy.

As soon as I'm done with this post I'm going to apply at ESPN to put together Power Rankings of sausages available at all the Major League ballparks. (They've probably already on that).

Follow on Twitter @BunBreakfast

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